Assistant Editor of India Today Group caught lying about release date of GDP Q2 figures

We have known for a while that for the “liberal” Indian media, no lie is too big when it comes to smearing Narendra Modi. Some 15 years and still counting. The very latest in this long list is an opinion piece that came out on Aaj Tak today, claiming to give out 3 different evidences of Modi sarkar being on the backfoot from “street to parliament”.

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Here’s the first of the 3 pieces of “evidence” : Why has Modi sarkar suppressed the latest GDP figures?

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What suppression they might be speaking of is baffling. The Q2 GDP figures for FY 2017-18 will be released as per schedule on Nov 30. All it would take for a basic fact check, is googling the official website. It’s only Nov 22.

I was puzzled, so I had to read the rest.

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For friends who might not be able to read Hindi, that underlined sentence translates to : “It should be noted that the GDP numbers for Q2 should have been released by Nov 1.”

The accusation is that the Modi government is suppressing GDP numbers to avoid possible embarrassment just before Gujarat polls.

This is an outright lie and a brazen one at that. The quarterly GDP numbers are released, just as you might expect, every 3 months. For any given Financial year, here is the well established schedule of release of GDP numbers.

Q1 (Apr — June) : Release date : Aug 31

Q2 (July — Sept) : Release date : Nov 30

Q3 (Oct — Dec) : Release date : Feb 28 (or 29)

Q4 (Jan — Mar) : Release date : May 31.

Exactly on schedule, the Q1 number was released on Aug 31 this year at 5:30 pm. And, exactly on schedule, the Q2 number would be released on Nov 30. This is precisely what happened in 2016 and always before that as far back as internet searches could take me. You can see that the date for release of Q2 GDP numbers was Nov 30 even in 2011.

This is an extremely well established schedule and I cannot think of any excuse for the author of the Aaj Tak opinion piece, Mr. Rahul Misra, not to know that.

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Yes, this man, who penned that shoddy piece riddled with misrepresentations, lies, and innuendos is an Assistant Editor of India Today.

Minutes after his post on Aaj Tak went online, I tweeted out the facts with screenshots and asked for an apology. The apology of course hasn’t been tendered, as expected. But it is also staggering how these evidently senior journalists can lie so brazenly. Perhaps they assume that their readers have sub par intellect and they can get away with anything. Or perhaps they know they can’t get away with it, they know they will be caught, but they want to ensure they can sway the opinion the other way, even if, of a minuscule audience. Either way, our media seems to discover news depths everyday, this seems to be just another one.

Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.

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